Here’s How To Help Your Child Develop Healthy Nutritional Habits

Child obesity is on the rise, as children are gaining weight quicker than ever before.

While most parents try to have their children live a healthy lifestyle, children can develop bad eating habits at a young age which can then cause them problems for the rest of their lives.

And research shows this one major habit could be the single cause of overweight children, but the good news is you can stop it.

It all comes down to not only what you feed your children, but how much.

Offering your child healthy foods such as lean meats and organic produce is a good start, but by forcing your child to eat when they aren’t hungry, you’re teaching your child to ignore their own internal hunger cues.

Well-intended parents often tell their children to “finish the food on their plate”. Some parents quote the “people are starving around the world” line. Others insist it’s for their child’s own good to eat their full meal.

However, research shows if a child eats when they aren’t hungry, it’s sure to increase the chances of obesity later in life.

U.S. News reported:

“A child may be out of touch with body signals that tell her to start eating and when to stop. The appetite cues of hunger and fullness form the basis for eating. Some children lose this sense of appetite regulation early in childhood when a parent’s feeding practices, like having a child finish the bottle or jar of baby food, override it.

Teach your child about physical hunger and how to recognize and honor her appetite cues. Use phrases such as “hungry belly” and “happy belly” to help young toddlers associate their physical sensation with hunger and fullness signs. Encourage older children to listen to their bodies and base eating on appetite cues. You can say, “What is your body telling you?”

Bottom line – don’t force your child to eat when they aren’t hungry. Teach them to listen to their body.

Other children may overeat because they are bored, or it becomes a habit to indulge in snacks in between meals.

By closing the kitchen in between meals, you’re teaching your child to eat during normal mealtimes, and not whenever they feel like it.

It’s also best to keep savory food out of reach and instead, have healthy items such as fresh fruit and veggies easily accessible.

However, be careful in completely restricting certain foods. If your household has a sugar ban, your child may learn to crave it even more.

Teach your child the “90/10” rule, where they eat healthy 90 percent of the time and then can have a “savory snack” the other 10 percent.

Remember children are watching what you eat too.

If you are constantly indulging in junk food and high sugary snacks, your child will think it’s okay to do the same

Teach your child at a young age the importance of nutrition, and the value of eating healthy food and how it helps the body.

By helping your child understand their own internal hunger cues and teaching them the value of healthy food, you can help them learn healthy eating habits at a young age.

What are some ways you teach your child healthy eating habits in your home?

Do you think parents should force their children to finish all the food on their plate at each meal?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.